SOUTHFIELD, Mich.—Blue Care Network said Wednesday that it will issue refunds of 2.5% of billed premiums to about 5,200 employers in Michigan.Officials at Southfield, Mich.-based Blue Care, the largest commercial health plan in Michigan, said it would issue the refunds because health care costs were lower than expected this year.”The Blues ask employers every day to embrace wellness in the workplace and give employees incentives to become healthier,” Blue Care President Kevin Klobucar said in a statement.
The total amount of the refund is $7.3 million. Blue Care Network did not provide a total count of employees, but these are 5,200 small businesses with 50 or fewer employees.
Blue Care also announced that its statewide average rate increase for the small-group market of 50 or fewer employees will be 6.7% in the first quarter of 2012, the lowest in the past four years. Blue Care increased rates 8.3% in 2009, 10.9% in 2010 and 9.9% in 2011.
“The Blues work every day to provide quality health care coverage while balancing costs,” Mr. Klobucar said. “We provide products that encourage healthy behaviors, programs that promote preventive care and wellness, and networks of high-quality doctors and hospitals. This approach is working and translates into lower costs for Michigan businesses.”